What is inner peace? Is it even real? Is it something we should bother striving for, and if so, how do we do it?
The Journey Not the Destination
Inner peace is a harmoniousness of spirit that provides a sense of calmness and purpose regardless of outside circumstances. Sounds wonderful, right?
Bad news: inner peace is not an attainable goal. By no means does this imply that you can’t ever have it, only that it is an ongoing pursuit, not a singular accomplishment. There will be times when you experience this calm – when you think you have arrived – only to find yourself feeling anything but peaceful just hours later.
So the goal isn’t to live in a state of inner peace at all times (that is unrealistic unless perhaps you are a monk) but to strive to cultivate it as much as possible.
Acceptance is Key
It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes it can be easiest to experience inner peace when we are in the midst of near catastrophe. When things are obviously far beyond our control and we must contemplate the worst outcome we realize that no matter what it is, we’ll have to accept it. We won’t have to like it, mind you, but we’ll have to face it as reality and move on from there.
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for some near disaster to learn this acceptance. Instead, we can practice living in the moment (as if there’s another moment we could live in) and focusing on the process while letting go of the outcome.
Auditions are a great opportunity to practice. When you approach an audition focused on how much you need the gig, worried about whether or not you will get it, you are focused on something over which you have absolutely no control. You could be the very best player, but if the director has decided that he is giving the part to his nephew, there’s nothing you can do.
Instead, approach auditions as a performance. You are there to communicate with your audience. How your audience judges your performance is not your problem. Not only does this kind of attitude help you feel more peaceful, but it also eliminates the scent of desperation that is an automatic turn-off to those considering hiring you.
Acceptance goes beyond just letting go of outcomes. It also means accepting who you are, and what you are capable of doing right now, where you are.
As classical musicians, we find ourselves constantly competing with others. There is a never-ending litany of comparisons going on in our head. Is she better than I am? Do they like his style more? Will I ever accomplish what so-and-so has done? Why can’t I just be an accountant?
The truth is, you’ve likely tried to do other things and found them unfulfilling. You are a musician. Accept that. Today, you are capable of what you are capable of, nothing more, nothing less.
If you must compare, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Think about where you are going and look at how far you’ve come. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. You are you, not them. Accept it.
If you want to experience inner peace accept that you are who you are, follow your path to the best of your ability in the moment, and let go of the outcome. Inner peace is a process, so be process-oriented.
This is part of our series on the characteristics of attractive people. If you would like to hear the live discussion about this characteristic, head on over to ClassicJabber.com now.
If you are ready to learn more about how to build a profitable, fulfilling career as a performing classical musician, check out Concert University, and the free webinar that outlines 5 strategies for success.